Jail guards beginning to enforce immigration laws

Jail guards beginning to enforce immigration laws

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Some jail guards are taking on a new job that the feds usually take care of: They're going to start identifying undocumented immigrants.

This is happening in Weber and Washington counties. The move appears to be the first sign of implementation of a new state law that allows local police to operate as enforcers of immigration laws. Their powers will be limited to bookings. No trolling around outside the jail for undocumented workers.

Latino advocate Tony Yapias wants it to be fair, if it's going to happen. He said, "What I'd like to see is that everybody who comes into the jail, regardless of their skin color, there should be a question of their legal status."

He says undocumented families are already expressing concern they'll be targeted when going to visit the jails, but the sheriffs in the counties say that shouldn't happen.

Already, some lawyers are saying they don't like it, calling it "racial profiling." One attorney told the Salt Lake Tribune this gives police a false impression they can stop someone merely because they want to, and that's not constitutional.

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com

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